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The rain has hit Epsom since I previewed Friday’s Oaks card and the going has been changed to soft, good to soft in places. More rain is forecast for Saturday morning, but I rate it unlikely that the runners will migrate to the stands’ side in the straight in search of better ground, as the rail in the straight will be moved after Friday’s meeting to bring a fresh strip of turf on the inside into play.

14:00 Cazoo Handicap

Derby Day commences with a 1m2f Class 2 handicap for three-year-olds and it has been a difficult to puzzle to solve on the day of the race, let alone at the antepost stage when we don’t know the final line-up or draw. We’ve had winners at 28-1, 25-1, 25-1 and 12-1 in the past ten years and we have to go back to 2008 to find the last winning favourite – Sir Michael Stoute’s handicap snip Conduit who scored by six lengths off a mark of 85 before going on to achieve an official rating of 125.

Fields of 17 and 18 runners were commonplace in the early part of the current century but the last four renewals have seen just seven, nine, 11 and eight runners go to post. Backing every runner blind at SP (Starting Price) in the past ten renewals would have returned a profit of £34.00 to a £1 level stake. 

Key stats and trends


Colts have outperformed market expectations, landing eight of the last ten renewals (expected winners = 6.17) whereas geldings were just two from 39 (expected winners = 3.62). Only three fillies have lined up in the study period and all were unplaced (7-1, 11-1 and 12-1). 

Running style and draw

No particular running style has been favoured though low draws have exceeded market expectations. Backing all runners drawn between stall 2 and stall 6 would have found eight winners from 50 bets for a profit of £57.50. Perming these five stalls would have hit the Tote trifecta on four occasions, including last year when it paid £769.60 compared to a tricast dividend of just £410.17.

Prep race

Only 24 horses finished sixth or worse in their prep race, but they produced five winners for a profit of £60.00 (expected winners – 1.32), so ignoring the obvious might be the best method when it comes to exotic Tote bets.


Andrew Balding is two from seven in the past ten years (+£5.50) and he has two entries in the same ownership – SCHMILSSON and SWILCAN BRIDGE, priced at 8-1 and 14-1 at the time of writing. Sylvester Kirk has a great record in this race but, sadly, is not represented this year. Mark Johnston is 0-19 in the past ten years (expected winners = 2.15) and his yard has two entries this year.

14:35 - Princess Elizabeth Stakes 

The Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes over the extended mile trip should be easier to solve than the opener, with the last ten winners priced at single-figure odds.

Key stats and trends

Running style

Front-runners have fared well, clocking three wins in the past ten years (+£15.00) and those who raced prominently had a five from 32 record (-£4.70). Those ridden patiently recorded just two wins from 42 runner (-£31.00).

Recent form

Last-time out winners are just one from 19 in the past ten renewals (-£17.20). Only three of the 13 entries – MRS FITZHERBERT (4-1), ROMAN MIST (11-2) and MISS MARBLE (8-1) – were successful on their most recent outing, though they are all prominent in the antepost betting.

Prep race

Those who prepped in handicap company were 0-14. All ten winners competed in a Class 1 contest last time out.


James Doyle’s four rides in this race have produced form figures of 1112, though he wasn’t jocked up at the time of writing. Frankie Dettori is five from 11 this century (+£2.85) and Silvestre De Sousa is two from five (+14.00)

15:10 -  Cazoo Diomed Stakes

The Cazoo Diomed Stakes, another Group 3 contest over the extended mile trip, saw an 18-1 upset last year when Oh This Is Us got up by a nose, but the previous nine renewals went to horses priced at 5-1 or shorter (five of them starting as favourite or joint-favourite)


Low draws have performed well in recent years, with six of the last seven Epsom winners (the race was run at Newbury in 2020) drawn 1, 2 or 3. Arod, who broke smartly and made all from stall 6 in 2015, was the exception (the next three finishers were drawn in stalls 1, 3 and 2). Simply backing stall 1 blind would have found five of the last ten Epsom winners for a profit of £40.75.

Recent form

Last-time out winners have a five from 18 record in the past ten Epsom renewals for a profit of £17.63.

Prep race

Those who ran in Group company last time underperformed, winning just three times from 33 runners (expected winners = 5.04). Seven of the past ten Epsom winners prepped in Listed company and backing all 26 qualifiers would have returned a profit of £32.63.

Qualifiers this year include BELL ROCK, though he’s never won outside of his seasonal debut, and this will be his fourth start of the current campaign. MODERN NEWS – a Listed scorer at Windsor last time and odds-on at the time of writing is likely to prove hard to beat if the draw is kind.

TEMPUS, 14-1 in the antepost lists, ran second to Modern News at Windsor and could again be the one for the Tote exacta.

15:45 - Simpex Express 'Dash' Handicap

The excitement hots up with the Simpex Express ‘Dash’ Handicap – ‘the fastest five furlongs in the world’. A high draw is usually advantageous in this big-field handicap, and it certainly was last year when MOKAATIL (stall 13) led home runners drawn 20, 17 and 18. The formula for the tricast dividend takes draw into effect, so it won’t pay generously when the first three home are all berthed high.

Those lucky enough to pick the first three in 2021 were ‘rewarded’ with a £968 tricast payoff but, needless to say, the Tote trifecta was the way to go, paying a massive £2598. The Tote exacta also outscored the computer straight forecast.

Mokaatil -Harry Davies wins The Indigenous Handicap (Class 3) Epsom 19.04.2022

Last year’s one-two MOKAATIL and ONLY SPOOFING look the ones to concentrate on once more. Mokaatil’s trainer Ian Williams has only saddled five sprint handicap runners at Epsom in the past ten years and they recorded form figures of 41031111 for a profit of £46.50. 

16:30 - Cazoo Derby

The Cazoo Derby has seen strong support for Sir Michael Stoute’s DESERT CROWN since he maintained his 100% record with a comfortable success in the Dante Stakes at York. There looked to be several in with a shout at the two-furlong pole that day, but the winner displayed an impressive turn of foot to leave his rivals trailing in his wake. Will he handle Epsom’s undulations? We can only guess, but if he does, he’s going to take some beating.

Eydon -David Egan wins The Feilden Stakes (Listed Race) Newmarket 14.04.2022

Those looking for an each-way alternative could do worse than 2000 Guineas fourth EYDON, who wasn’t best drawn at Newmarket. He has his stamina to prove but there’s compensation in the price (around 25-1).

17:15 - World Pool Northern Dancer Handicap

Another race run over the Derby trip, this time the World Pool Norther Dancer Handicap. Last year’s runner-up SOTO SIZZLER has course form of 11221 and should again be thereabouts if opting for this race in preference to the 1m2f handicap on Friday. 

Key stats and trends


Traditionally, it’s been hard to win from a very low draw, though that was the case in the Derby itself last year before Adayar won from stall 1. Stalls 1, 2, 3 and 4 have a combined record of just one from 40 in the past ten years.


A good race for four-year-olds, with seven of the last ten winners fitting the bill (from 54 qualifiers). Backing them all would have returned a small profit (+£3.75) whereas five-year-olds were just one from 34, albeit most were big prices. 

Recent form

Last-time out winners are just one from 20, though those who finished second in their prep race went one better on five occasions (from 23 runners) for a profit of £24.75. Soto Sizzler’s trainer David Menusier has booked Jamie Spencer for WINTER REPRISE, second by a neck at Saint-Cloud last time.

17:50 -  JRA Tokyo Trophy Handicap

We end with the 6f JRA Tokyo Trophy Handicap in which I’ll have to back MR WAGYU. John Quinn’s veteran has hardly set the world alight in his three runs this season, but he’s won 13 of his 26 starts in June/July (+£54.35 to £1), compared to a record of 0-35 outside of this period. Epsom’s unique nature should suit, and, with luck, he’ll be a big price on the Tote.

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